5+ Ways to Give Virtual Gratitude to Colleagues During the Holiday Season

By Carolyn Becker, Senior Manager of Communications and Community Engagement, Goodwill of Greater Washington

By this time last year, many of us started to organize holiday team celebrations, packed with food, fun and face-to-face laughter. This year is much different: we are racking our brains trying to figure out methods to show gratitude towards our coworkers in safe and fun ways. Mailing thank-you notes/any type of cards to those we care about is becoming a new norm. Gratitude emails are obvious go-tos.

For the holidays, it’s a great time to get creative. To provide some inspiration and reenergize your thankful thinking cap, here are some thought-starters on ways to show colleagues and collaborators that you care, through Thanksgiving and beyond.

Ideas for Managers

If you manage a team, here are some simple ways to show your associates that you’re thinking of them this holiday season.

  • Consider canceling and/or rescheduling an early morning/late afternoon meeting during Thanksgiving week. This will give the team more time to wrap up tasks before the holiday break.
  • If work allows, let the team end the work day a few hours early on the Friday before Thanksgiving week, or a day during the week of the holiday. This will allow the team to catch up on work as well as life errands.
  • Schedule a short meeting dedicated to thanking your team for their hard work during the year. Do not bring up other work assignments. Focus on giving gratitude, face-to-face, albeit over virtual platforms as needed.
  • If the budget allows, treat your team to coffee/tea, especially if it was once a perk of working at the office. Send small gift cards or have ground coffee and tea satchels delivered to associates.
  • If budget allows, provide a small stipend to associates to specifically use to donate to their favorite charities.

Ideas for Associates 

  • Schedule a 15-minute meeting dedicated to thanking your team for their hard work during the year. Focus on giving gratitude, face-to-face, albeit over virtual platforms. Make a list ahead of time of ways that each of your coworkers supported you during the year and thank them for their help.
  • Try metta meditation. WebMD suggests sending loving wishes to another person through prayer or meditation. Try this version, adapted from The CBT Deck: Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Take three slow, calming breaths. Bring the person to mind and, with each out breath, mentally send them these wishes: “May you be healthy. May you know peace. May you find ease. May you be free from suffering.” Feel a glow of loving kindness radiating from inside you. Repeat as many times as you like.
  • Create a playlist: Using Spotify or Apple Music, create a team playlist with positive, uplifting songs that help communicate your gratitude. Email this link to your coworkers with an insightful note, explaining the playlist and why you chose each song. Even if a coworker doesn’t wind up listening to the playlist, it’s the effort you put in that counts!

These are just a small handful of ways to show your colleagues that you care and are thinking about them during these complex times. Overall, they’re quite simple, cost very little, and adhere to pandemic safety protocols. We hope that they provide some inspiration and help you find methods that are personal and meaningful to you.

This post originally appeared in the Working Capital blog by Goodwill of Greater Washington. Read the blog.